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NYT Reports States Looking For Ways To File Bankruptcy, Muni Bondholders To Be GMed

Tyler Durden's picture


A few days ago we reported that Newt Gingrich was pushing for legislation to allow states to file for bankruptcy, "allowing Them To Renege On Pension And Benefit Obligations." As we speculated back then "obviously what this means for equity investors in assorted muni
investments is that a complete wipe out is becoming a possibility, as
Meredith Whitney's prediction, which everyone was quick to mock and
ridicule, is about to come back with a vengeance." Sure enough, this most recent development in the states' path to insolvency was quickly ignored as it was not a dipping mushroom cloud that could be bought. Until tonight: the NYT has just rehashed the post in an article that would not only validate the Whitney thesis if true, but make a Cramer-Bove out of everyone who has been caught on tape in the past two weeks kicking and screaming that there is no chance in hell the carnage predicted by the scourge of Citigroup (and yes, back in 2007 everyone said that Citi could never fail either). From the NYT: "Policy makers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let
states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts,
including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers." Which means that up to $3 trillion in muni debt has a high probability of being GMed, precisely as we predicted: "proponents say some states are so burdened that the only feasible way out may be bankruptcy, giving Illinois, for example, the opportunity to do what General Motors did with the federal government’s aid." Oh, and since all this constitutes an EOD, readers are strongly urged to re-read the primer on what pervasive state bankruptcies will mean for muni CDS (hint: the MCDX is cheap).

From tonight's NYT:

Beyond their short-term budget gaps, some states have deep structural problems, like insolvent pension funds, that are diverting money from essential public services like education and health care. Some members of Congress fear that it is just a matter of time before a state seeks a bailout, say bankruptcy lawyers who have been consulted by Congressional aides.

But... but... the Paul Krugmans at the CBPP just said that not only do states need more debt, but their pension funds are sure to generate 8% returns. In perpetuity and then some.

Bankruptcy could permit a state to alter its contractual promises to retirees, which are often protected by state constitutions, and it could provide an alternative to a no-strings bailout. Along with retirees, however, investors in a state’s bonds could suffer, possibly ending up at the back of the line as unsecured creditors.

So basically, GM? Thank you Steve Rattner.

House Republicans, and Senators from both parties, have taken an interest in the issue, with nudging from bankruptcy lawyers and a former House speaker, Newt Gingrich, who could be a Republican presidential candidate. It would be difficult to get a bill through Congress, not only because of the constitutional questions and the complexities of bankruptcy law, but also because of fears that even talk of such a law could make the states’ problems worse.

Lawmakers might decide to stop short of a full-blown bankruptcy proposal and establish instead some sort of oversight panel for distressed states, akin to the Municipal Assistance Corporation, which helped New York City during its fiscal crisis of 1975.

Still, discussions about something as far-reaching as bankruptcy could give governors and others more leverage in bargaining with unionized public workers.

“They are readying a massive assault on us,” said Charles M. Loveless, legislative director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “We’re taking this very seriously.

You can read the rest here. It is pretty self-explanatory.

Fast forward to 2013 when Goldman of American PIMCO Lynch, Jefferies Stanley Tabak, BlackRock Morgan and Citibank of Rangoon all win the mandate to IPO the government's $100 billion stake in the bankrupt state of California, preceded by a 10,000% 5 day market melt up in which every single short share in the world is recalled by State Street. And the official spin by the Palin administration: "this is a huge stamp of approval and confidence by the communist capital markets in the capability of Brian Sack's solitary Bloomberg terminal to manipulate each and every asset price to levels not even Jim Cramer ever thought possible."



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Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:37 | 892283 kujo
kujo's picture

Most states like their access to the capital markets.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:04 | 892351 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

Truly! And they'll get it when the old mountain of pain is obliterated and fresh money can see a better credit. Sorry GM bondholders.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:09 | 892366 kujo
kujo's picture

A state defaults and it will break the entire muni market. The Fed steps in long before that happens.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:19 | 892393 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

If by "Fed" you mean FRB, Bernake just said publically that the states could fuggitaboutit. Whether that's just a bald faced lie for the public trough, a bad cop play-act for the Shi-town SEIU, well maybe that's another story.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:32 | 892417 kujo
kujo's picture

If a state were to default on a GO bond, the term full faith and credit would mean nothing. How would the market look at full faith and credit of US Gov't debt. The FRB and the Treasury dept cannot allow this to happen. Benny will step in.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:50 | 892450 Alienated Serf
Alienated Serf's picture

umm, full faith and credit of the UNITED STATES, i.e. the federal government.  not individual states.  arkansas defaulted in the '30s

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 06:48 | 892714 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Arkansas defaulted in the 30's, restarted and was good for another 80 years.




And all will be well for another 80 years. Oke, maybe not 80 but at least 10 years!

And by cutting the pension the slightly older people >60<99 can go back to work AND ENJOY THE FRUITS OF HARD LABOR!!

you know, give them back their meaning of life and shit.


What amazes me is that the American people is so in to this!

Here in Europe we would have riots and would want the things we paid for our entire life BUT NOT IN AMERICA!! UNCLE SAM FIRST! That's what I call patriotisme. WAW!

If you didn't do anything over here in Europe when that would happen, we would call you a mindless nogood motherfucker and throw you from a bridge. But that's just us "crazy" europeans :)


Fri, 01/21/2011 - 08:09 | 892744 Bob
Bob's picture


There's something sadistic in the American character that has never yet been confronted.  Perhaps it's a primitive characteristic of an empire that, unlike the European nations, has never been meaningfully humbled.  My hope would be that an American comeuppance like those Europeans suffered in previous centuries will temper our Noble Bully mentality with some of the empathy that is so painfully lacking in our culture.

At this point, however, we appear to be a warrior society that still values the number of scalps hanging from our loin cloths--the more people you screw over, the greater your status.  Compassion for the needy is weakness and fairness is reserved for those with the power to impose their version of it upon as many people as possible.  

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:37 | 893031 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

 My hope would be that an American comeuppance like those Europeans suffered in previous centuries will temper our Noble Bully mentality with some of the empathy that is so painfully lacking in our culture.

Well said bob. It is much needed.

The thing is though, that de-sensitization is entirely at the hands of the media.

Three Stooges/Charlie Chaplain/Laurel and Hardy Slap-stick all the way to Jackass and reality TV.

Now violent video games, UFC on TV..... ice-hockey (total blood sport)...

No one to blame but the bastards at Tavistock and the like and Bernays and his descendants, Disney......




Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:44 | 893056 Bob
Bob's picture

I'd like to blame the media, and they certainly don't help, but I think the humility and humanity that are part and parcel of real maturity must be learned the hard way. 

You've got to fall to develop a genuine respect for gravity.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 23:17 | 895180 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

You've got to fall to develop a genuine respect for gravity.

Nice! I'll take that into my quote-book!


Fri, 01/21/2011 - 09:28 | 892745 ToNYC
ToNYC's picture


MS Windows and individual States share the need to reboot. Their memory allocation or deferred entitlement obligations are strewed about, haphazardly comes to mind, in political expediency. When these streams collide, system communication is compromised and nothing gets done. Without the ability to add more RAM memory or money printing; the only success comes with a reboot of the system.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 06:26 | 892702 Frederic Bastiat
Frederic Bastiat's picture

Kujo, that exact thinking got us here.  The world won't end, it will just suck for a while.  If we don't do it now, it will suck even more later.  

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 08:05 | 892754 jm
jm's picture

Respect Kujo's point.

Only a stupid state thinks that a default is a debt jubilee. It is not.  It is welcome to the jungle.  The only way they can borrow is with a brand new credit spread that prices them out of the market.  They will have to pay everything out of revenue.  It is impossible to keep even a skeleton of existing services funded this way.

What states will have to do is get real and manage the painful realities of their past excesses.  This means taxes are going up and services are going down.  Look at Illinois, Jersey, pretty much everywhere.  They are managing the situation now (more needed) by cutting services and soon pension funding, before it all blows up.  Default is the blow up.


Fri, 01/21/2011 - 11:16 | 893167 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

So what is stopping a federal body from intervening post default to fill the gap in credit availability/spread?  This presumes that there is somehow a functioning credit market that in some remote sense of the word is capable of accurately apportioning risk.  Upon default of the federal government, I suspect you will be more correct than at present with regard to the states.

It's going to be a game of good cop, bad cop and the shoes are going to be all over everyone's respective feet.  As of now, states play bad cop and reneg on everything.  Uncle sugar comes in as a knight in shining armor and allows them to begin borrowing again (because default risk is irrelevant and, being the federal government, it can ensure that the state may not default on its debt to the federal government).  This way, the support required for each state by the federal government will be substantially less.  (now whether they pick it back up in required welfare, etc. is another question, but I suspect the aggregate result will be a substantial reduction in the amount of outlays required by uncle sugar). 

Then, when it's the federal government on the chopping block, and we get sick of the pains of austerity, we will simply choose to repudiate the debt.  What happens to our future capacity to borrow is largely irrelevant given the likely public sentiment at that point (i.e. we won't care).  It is simply a predicament we have placed ourselves in through decades of abuse and, presuming we even make it that far, we will stop the madness through repudiation.

Once states topple like dominoes, it's going to be easier for to do so as well.  Likewise, as more and more countries topple, it's going to be easier for to do so...  good cop one day, bad cop the next...  just depends on which side of the billy club you're on.  Domestic default first, then international default.


Fri, 01/21/2011 - 12:10 | 893386 jm
jm's picture

Thanks.  Let me ponder this.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 13:06 | 893553 jm
jm's picture

If this were a $3 trillion default mass, I would agree, as there is no other option. 

But all they are doing is kicking the can down the road, hoping they heal.  Thus they are focussed about the roll, which a QE^(2x) can handle.

Also... default may impact T spreads adversely, in the sense that credit risk reflects default realities.  Even though T are reference, that reference rate could go up, which would fook everything in so many ways. 

Mon, 01/24/2011 - 16:19 | 899822 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

This really doesn't address the substance of my post.  The FED is already monetizing the debt.  The question is why do rates not reflect this relationship and why has our default (certain for everyone who can do basic math) not been accurately represented in financial instruments? 

Again, you are presuming there is some real market out there.  What I am telling you is that it has been dead for some time and we are presently defying gravity.  What is stopping us from continuing to do so?

I am in total agreement that municipal, state, and federal debt are all ultimately doomed and so is the dollar.  However, I disagree that anything would necessarily coincide with another federal bailout.  I simply do not have the means to determine when the levee breaks and I sincerely doubt you do as well.  [I have a sneaking suspicion we're not going see coming what ultimately spells our demise].

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 11:58 | 893348 Jerome Lester H...
Jerome Lester Horwitz's picture

Yes, Illinois raised taxes but the Democrats in charge are going to also increase spending and are not cutting pensions at all. Illinois is a poor example to use. The only thing that the politicians in Illinois are managing is borrowing and spending this state deeper into debt and chasing businesses out of Illinois with their high tax rate. But hey, the unionized government employees will be taken care of. The Democrats that control this state could care less about the private sector!

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:12 | 892503 Marc45
Marc45's picture

While those with a bearish bent may salivate at the prospects of state defaults a la bankruptcy, there ain't no way in hell that will happen. There is simply too much at stake to play that game. It would change everything.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:20 | 892518 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

The game is engaged. Read the Times article and yes it would change everything. Is it your position that change cannot happen?

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 02:57 | 892608 bankonzhongguo
bankonzhongguo's picture

Who do you think is ADVISING the states on their pension investments and alleged returns - the Banks - who want to be in first position forever and can have their lobbyists just write the new laws for congress.

If a Corporation can void their pension obligations a la PBGC and have Uncle Sugar payout at 30 cents on the dollar after discounts, then good folks like Reid and Gingrich are more than happy to help craft some pro-bank laws that allow the states to stick-it to state pensioners and other annuitants.

The muni market will just need to pay more interest for the courtesy risk.  These are the same fake conversations already had in every post war banana republic.

Also, think of the coming medical bills coming from Obamacare in 2014 for the states.

The general economy has collapsed 30% because the credit magic is gone and all the manufacturing has disappeared - all that state tax revenue is bye bye. Pensions will go bye bye also.

The States must GM the pensioners.

What's Ken Feinberg doing?  He's so wise and kind. 

Hard to be politically active when you can't afford to bribe your "representative" on a fixed income.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 06:46 | 892712 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Marc, 10 years ago, everyone would have scoffed at a person who claimed that the US Debt in 2011 will be nearly 14 Trillion fiatscos.

Likewise someone in 1912 saying that in the next six years, 16 million humans would die at the hands of fellow humans. In the defense of no particular threat of ideology except that indoctrined into the population. 

Likewise the bomb in 45.

I think the gist and the gestalt of this time is one of dis-continuity.



Sun, 01/23/2011 - 21:54 | 897946 Guy Fawkes Mulder
Guy Fawkes Mulder's picture

Not nit-picking at your point even one iota but:

Not "everyone" would have scoffed. The animal farmers weren't scoffing during those times. They were planning and preparing for it.

I wonder what they plan and prepare for today.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 06:57 | 892719 bigelkhorn
bigelkhorn's picture

This is amazing. I am scared right now about an economic collapse as my house is about to foreclose. I am nearly in tears, and stressed.

My friend and I subscribe to the FFT newsletter the guy over at He predicted the stock market crash, and the US collapse ages ago, and many other things, it is spooky how accurate he is. and what he says coming next is int resting, he is well worth a look. Time to prepare was yesterday people!!

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 09:48 | 892883 ZackAttack
ZackAttack's picture

I think you are correct. Hell, the federal government backstopped ABCP used to lever up to buy SIVs. It backstopped bank debt. It implicitly backstopped GSE debt. Muni debt is one step away from 'full faith and credit.'

I think the trade will go down exactly like the banks did - there comes a point where you have to hold your nose and buy the smelliest Detroit GO bonds.

Pulling out the charts, though, to 2 - 3 years, I don't see any reason that couldn't happen another 50% down from here.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 07:38 | 892740 Michael
Michael's picture

I made a few new Youtube videos.

Congressman Steve Cohen AKA Nathan Thurm

Jesse Ventura Police State Fema Camps Remix

The Precautionary Principle Who Benefits?

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:30 | 892532 I think I need ...
I think I need to buy a gun's picture

Do not be in dollar denominated debt. This is now old up fannie and freddie and what will happen with everyones mortgages......


Peter schiff circa 2007 "The only thing left will be the debt we owe to foreigners"

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 02:14 | 892589 President Palin
President Palin's picture

Peter schiff circa 2007 "The only thing left will be the debt we owe to foreigners"

Nah, we'll find a way to screw them over too...

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 06:43 | 892709 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"Nah, we'll find a way to screw them over too..."

They should have used protection...LOL.

When party two buys party one's debt they are assuming risk by virtue of the fact that party one had to ask for a loan from someone to begin with...they just chose their partner they have an uncomfortable burning sensation...but life will go on.

I don't know why I'm writing like this...maybe your avatar? ;-)

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 16:58 | 894457 tired1
tired1's picture

Party two can use the debt instrument to acquire real assests before the music stops.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 17:50 | 894613 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Probably so...and the beat goes on.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:35 | 892544 I think I need ...
I think I need to buy a gun's picture

But uncle ben just said recently the "Muni bond market was functioning normally"

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:37 | 892284 cswjr
cswjr's picture

Lol, your last paragraph is brilliant.

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:43 | 892287 plocequ1
plocequ1's picture

Oh leave me alone. I have no pension, No 401k, No nothing. Just a loaf of bread, A jug of wine and thou.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 02:00 | 892576 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

But I find your tongue in cheek musings rather interesting.

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:39 | 892288 Xibalba
Xibalba's picture

I'm sure this is why futures went green. 

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:39 | 892289 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Hard to find "safe" investments nowadays.

Best buy some physical gold and silver right away!

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:57 | 892333 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

Take a long, hard look at your annuity provider. They just escaped the net last time. Cats they ain't.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:38 | 892551 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Please note I said buy SOME gold and silver!

I am a fairly raging gold bull, but I am on the verge of halting my gold purchases (along with some Ag, Pt and Pd I bought awhile back) because I have reached 9% of my wealth in gold (10% in total PMs).

EVERYONE should be diversified!  Sure, have some stocks, bonds and cash (FRN$ under the mattress).  I myself have an investment in a company in Peru as well as a variety of other assets.

You do NOT have to go "all in" on gold!  But, it seems really unwise not to have a good chunk of your assets in the best wealth protection investment in town.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:52 | 892569 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

You're a pompous ass

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 09:56 | 892898 quasimodo
quasimodo's picture

Always makes my day when I can sit here and hit refresh and your junks keep adding up

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 02:46 | 892435 Eternal Student
Eternal Student's picture

I have to respectfully disagree with the suggestion that gold and silver are safe. IMO, there are no safe investments. Your best bet is to be flexible and aware. And yes, I own PMs. But safe? Oh no. Let me count the ways.

The safest bet seems to be paying attention to the news on ZH.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 03:38 | 892635 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

A Kel Tec KSG and a garden...all you need

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 08:40 | 892793 ColonelCooper
ColonelCooper's picture

Practical and impractical all stirred into one pot.  Cool

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 11:10 | 893140 Calmyourself
Calmyourself's picture

RMF, check the latest reviews.  The trigger goes dead as you rack it design flaw BIG time..  870 or Mossie 500/590

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:40 | 892291 TWORIVER
TWORIVER's picture

Seems like all those losses should lead to selling in all assets. Don't think Gold and Silver will be immune.

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:57 | 892334 mouser98
mouser98's picture

PMs are not investments, they are real money

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:01 | 892346 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

Sure "they" are. Ever ask yourself how Santa gets in when there's no chimney?

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:21 | 892396 -Michelle-
Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:39 | 892556 Idiot Savant
Idiot Savant's picture

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said "real money". It's an oxymoron. Money isn't real, it's based on perception and that's it.


Fri, 01/21/2011 - 03:19 | 892616 DrLamer
DrLamer's picture

PMs are not investments, they are real money

Real money is the execution of a promise. (US dollar is one of the accounting tools, used for valuation, measurement and storing the promises; to measure a credit, a trust between parties of a contract.) The Precious metals are simply the best backup for this real money.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 06:41 | 892708 XPolemic
XPolemic's picture

PMs are not investments, they are real money

Nope, all Gold and Silver and Platinum and Palladium are is CONVERTIBLE. They have been that way for at least 2000 years. Don't like your King? Grab your gold and move to another Kingdom. Country got invaded? Sneak out with your gold. Paper money printed like hell and is now worth nothing? Take your gold somewhere else and convert it to some better fiat.

This is the reason that people have collected gold over the ages. It hedges you, gives you mobility, and there is always someone, somewhere in the world that wants the stuff (reasons unknown).

Gold is not an investment.

Gold is not money.


Let me ask you this, if the US dollar were to collapse, and cease to be the world's reserve currency, do you think the world's commodity markets would still price commodities in US dollars?

Can you jump on a plane to China with a tonne of wheat in your suitcase?

Can you roll 50 barrels of oil onto the train you are taking the-hell-outa Dodge?

10 Bales of cotton? A tonne of copper?

But that 1kg bar of gold will start you fresh wherever in the world you find yourself. Why do you think the Jews hoard it? They are always prepared for the day they outlive their welcome (again).


Fri, 01/21/2011 - 08:37 | 892790 ToNYC
ToNYC's picture


The convertibility option is quite challenging. All the bulky commodites you question can't be so easily separated from you by an unwelcome but interested party with a 4 foot 2x4

Sat, 01/22/2011 - 04:27 | 895411 XPolemic
XPolemic's picture

I think 1kg of gold is a little easier to hide on one's person than 100 barrels of Oil, but your point is valid. I think the point is that if person A takes your gold with a 2x4, then you tell person B,C,D that person A now has 1kg of gold.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 09:02 | 892822 mouser98
mouser98's picture

yes, just like i said, PMs are real money.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 09:33 | 892861 swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

You made a lot of sense until your last sentence with the Jew business.  I won't discuss the historical baggage nor the social unacceptability of such statements; I presume you are already aware of those considerations.

I'd submit that in distrusting Jews you've missed the point.  Are Banksters with mitochondrial DNA we consider "non-Jewish" any less nefarious?  Is your money/security/health/freedom any less gone when a non-Jew steals it?  From whom or what do you really seek to protect yourself?

Sat, 01/22/2011 - 04:23 | 895409 XPolemic
XPolemic's picture

I'd submit that in distrusting Jews you've missed the point.

Where in my post did I say I distrust the Jews? I am a student of history. The Jews have been kicked out of almost as many countries as the Chinese and the Romanians (Gypsies).

Are Banksters with mitochondrial DNA we consider "non-Jewish" any less nefarious? 

Do you mean Semitic or Hasidic? ;) No, of course not. There are Christians in the Middle East who become Jewelers and Goldsmiths so they can quickly take their ass-ets somewhere else whenever there is an Islamic revolution. Zoroastrians too.

My point was not about Jewish people (Hasidic not Semitic), I just used them as an example of people who historically, have packed their bags and moved a lot, for whatever reason (my personal theory is that telling people that you are God's chosen people, and that they are NOT, doesn't do much to endear you to your hosts, but that is irrelevant).

 Is your money/security/health/freedom any less gone when a non-Jew steals it?  From whom or what do you really seek to protect yourself?

More so. Actually it's usually the Jews who are being robbed, hence their liking of Gold as part of an escape plan. Personally, my country does not suffer the wild swings that the USoA does. Most of the people here couldn't give a rats about most things. The weather is good, the food is abundant, and so I don't envisage fleeing. BUT, our fiscal system is still extremely fragile, mostly because it is run by idiots. Hence for me, PMs are just an hedge against inflation or loss of purchasing power of our currency. If I was American, PMs would probably be part of an emergency escape plan, and I would definitely be learning Spanish (or Portuguese) right about now.

Hope that helps clarify.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:06 | 892335 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

Gold will rally on this

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:17 | 892386 walküre
walküre's picture

The average investor is holding between 5% and 15% of PMs.

When DOLLAR denominated government bonds default, the one investment any investor is NOT going to sell off are precious metals.

He'd be a fool to do that.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:26 | 892410 The Nagus
The Nagus's picture

I doubt the "median" investor has yet to consider PM's. 

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:00 | 892478 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

When every corner has a guy shaking a "we buy gold" sign? I am now seeing cars with shrink-wrapping " I Buy Gold". Goldline all over TV. Broad category websites dripping with ads. You get out much?

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:31 | 892538 twinshot
twinshot's picture

So that would mean average Joe on the street selling gold then. The total opposite of what your example tries to say. FAIL.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:36 | 892548 Burnbright
Burnbright's picture

Don't feed the trolls, their logic is backward for a reason.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:49 | 892563 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

You fucking doomertard. You FAIL. If he's buying, so should you. He's buying, why? to sell to FuckTard fools like you.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 06:18 | 892698 dogbreath
dogbreath's picture

The game being played out is being done so on many levels.  We here at Zero Hedge are the interested bystanders.  Most people are disinterested bystanders, sheep.  Without getting into a drawn out debate with a NYC troll like you and all the distraction and evasion you represent here:  in the end those with the gold will win.  These are historical times and major power moves are being executed.   So right now "they " want to suck up the loose gold laying around society.  The bubble will be when " they" want to sell you the new currency/money/fiat whatever.  


GMF:  Shit heads like you always show up an overpost your authoritative opinions that everyone else is an idiot untill you are to em bare assed to show up any more.  Be ahead of the curve and fuck off early

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 07:01 | 892723 nmewn
nmewn's picture

+ one Scooby Snack ;-)

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:48 | 892562 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

You fucking doomertard. You FAIL. If he's buying, so should you. He's buying, why? to sell to FuckTard fools like you.

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:42 | 892297 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

tick, tock.....tick, tock

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:48 | 892314 LePetomane
LePetomane's picture
Alfred Hitchcock On Mastering Cinematic Tension

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:56 | 892332 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

Mastering Good Sex with fucking corrupt midgets.

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:59 | 892339 LePetomane
LePetomane's picture


Fri, 01/21/2011 - 08:44 | 892795 ToNYC
ToNYC's picture

You must be meaning those hookers sent by the phat phone brokers?

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:06 | 892304 Mercury
Mercury's picture

NYT: Unlike cities, the states are barred from seeking protection in federal bankruptcy court.

Where the fuck did that law come from?  Did I miss a meeting?  Is this really an old school state's rights, sovereignty thing or did public sector unions lobby this provision into existence?  Of course The Times makes it sound like there's a prohibition in the Constitution against government employees ever losing one promised dime but I believe that there is simply a statement that charges Congress with making bankruptcy laws.

You can't clip your toenails without involving the federal government via the Commerce Clause but states are still considered sovereign in this regard? Unbelievable.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:08 | 892362 JohnG
JohnG's picture

They are not barred, they are immune.

It's never happened before to the best of my knowledge, so the case law is ancient, practically non-existent.  This is what I found, perhaps some lawyers can chime in.


Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:18 | 892388 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Unless there's something else buried in one of the Amendments the Constitutional text that deals with bankruptcy law amounts to 11 words.

Article I Sec.8

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 07:04 | 892724 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"Article I Sec.8"

You're scaring the children Merc...LOL.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 03:50 | 892634 DrLamer
DrLamer's picture

They are not barred, they are immune.

No. Simply the procedure is very different. As "a State" includes a justice system, public services, it can not be "judged" in a regular way. They need no BK federal court, but a .... States' Federal Convention.

There are several problems:

1). You does not have a new "model" of a society (The Founding Fathers did have, and The Holy Spirit was there).

2). You does not have people with open mind, "ready to die" for a truth.

3). You does not have a support of Holy Spirit.

4). Regardless of the decisions made by the States' (Federal) Convention, the computer digital mouse in FED - on a Federal Level - will destroy the States faster, than you can build something new. This is a special big computer mouse with a big jewish nose. This mouse is issuing "money".

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:37 | 893033 Ned Zeppelin
Ned Zeppelin's picture

Huh? Lose the tin hat? 

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:24 | 892407 Alienated Serf
Alienated Serf's picture

sovereign immunity mon frere.  google "sovereign immunity and bankruptcy" and you will have a few hours of fun.  i don't think the issue has been totally settled.  it is the bankruptcy clause that is in issue, not commerce.  also section 106 of the bankruptcy code.  

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:56 | 892470 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Gosh, bankruptcy precedent and law didn't seem like much of a stumbling block when Chrysler bondholders got stiffed.  I think there were a few hand motions, the magic words: shared sacrifice were uttered and that was that.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:01 | 892480 Alienated Serf
Alienated Serf's picture

yes, but chrysler is not a state.  anyway, i am shocked to see that barely any ZHers are paying attention to how granting states outs of contractual obligations serves primarily to enhance federal power.  

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:23 | 892525 serotonindumptruck
serotonindumptruck's picture

Until the States' Attornies General begin asserting their 10th Amendment Rights, nothing will change. This legal path will likely involve a "Declaration of Seccession" and possible Federal law enforcement action against the State in question.

We're all closer to civil war that we would like to believe.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 03:36 | 892630 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Oh yeah. The state AGs were real dynamos on the whole fraudclosure thing.  They will roll when the bankstas tell them to roll.  NULLIFICATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If not, secession.

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:44 | 892306 Bárðarbunga
Bárðarbunga's picture

So this bankruptcy would be a restructure or a all-out default? How can a state do either of these things?

GM was a corporation that turned itself into Liquidation Motors essentially tearing out the rest of the productive plants and selling them off to the scrappers. I cannot see - let's say Lansing Michigan being torn down and scrapped for its copper plumbing and rusty i-beams.

Shitting on all those pensioners will never go over. It's bad enough where states are positioned now with their unpayable debt, but to just DEFAULT on their obligations...

I'm sure it will be a matter of time when the Bernank and Timmah just throw federal coupons at the problem. Lucky us. Or I mean lucky U.S.

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:59 | 892341 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

Careful the terminology.  Default refers only to not paying interest on bonds, or returning the par value at maturity.

Failing to pay a pension is not Default.  That's a contract cancellation.  There will be cancellation fees, buit it's not a default.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:26 | 892411 Alienated Serf
Alienated Serf's picture

i think breach is the terminology you are looking for.  this is a little more complicated then cancelling your cell phone contract.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:03 | 892483 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

Good call.  Breach of contract is the better term.

But not default.  The D word was my focus cuz of swap triggers.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:11 | 892499 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

Shitting on pensioners is a better option than cutting out services like teachers and cops. Do you want tax money going for a cushy retirement with full benefits or someone working in the community. Yeah it sucks, but these are what are at stake.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:51 | 892564 Idiot Savant
Idiot Savant's picture

No, I want cops, teachers, firefighters, et. al. to take pay cuts. Restructure benefits for current employees, not retirees. Shitting on retirees is unconscionable - we are talking about old people being able to eat.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 02:30 | 892591 KTV Escort
KTV Escort's picture

For Christsakes, cops, teachers, firefighters should be the last state employees to take pay cuts (in my state anyway)... focus instead on administration, engineers, attorneys, directors, accountants, etc... the ones making the overblown 100K and up salaries

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 03:20 | 892621 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Getting rid of the street level employees is a time honored form of blackmail by the enlightened executives.

Call their bluff this time. They forget, in their arrogance, they are cutting their own protection.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
Napoleon Bonaparte
French general & politician (1769 - 1821)
Fri, 01/21/2011 - 08:55 | 892814 DeltaDawn
DeltaDawn's picture

I am pretty sure that quote comes from Hu just a couple of days ago...

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:47 | 892313 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

But, but, Harry's dildo/urinal cake business had a record Q4!?

Harry - this is one more for your study: "this will not end well...".

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:48 | 892315 HamyWanger
HamyWanger's picture

This is very good news for equities.

All the money diverted from municipal bonds will flow into stocks and the economy.

All the confidence built by stocks going up will do a lot to stimulate spending and jobs creation.

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:58 | 892337 reading
reading's picture

Harry, do you sell vacuums?  Cause you sure as hell must live in one if you actually think this would be "bullish" for equities.  

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:07 | 892358 Dr. Porkchop
Dr. Porkchop's picture

Life really sucks in a vacuum.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:54 | 892466 Alienated Serf
Alienated Serf's picture

someone should have used a vacuum on Momma Wanger way back in (insert year harry was born here).

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:04 | 892488 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

All you guys been rickrolled by Hamy

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:15 | 892509 Alienated Serf
Alienated Serf's picture

look, i'm not turning down any chances to make a harry wanger abortion joke.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:43 | 892554 AssFire
AssFire's picture

Hamy blasted a hilarious line and they got rolled up...lmao


Fri, 01/21/2011 - 09:08 | 892833 DukkButt
DukkButt's picture

Don't click on "RICKROLLED". It will hijack your browser. BAN AssFire. Posting links to attack sites should be an automatic ban. Lucky for you AssFire that this is an anonymous site. Some of us think a 9mm hollow point is the perfect response to mental midgets like you.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:10 | 892369 JohnG
JohnG's picture

Imposter alert!

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:13 | 892504 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

Hey I love ZH but this Harry nonsense gotta end. Ban the guy or the copycats. It does nothing to help the topics.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:55 | 892572 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Sorry, mental agility is more important here! :>D

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 02:48 | 892602 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

Fight Club! I love that the trolls have their own trolls. And that many times people, including myself, get caught by it. Goes to show how easy it is to get sucked in...

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 08:47 | 892802 ColonelCooper
ColonelCooper's picture

HarryWanQer is the best.  He ends up burning me every time, and he's actually the one who comes up with the most ridiculous shit.  The burn on the real Harry is that no matter how stupid the shit said by his trolls, people still believe he could have said it.

I'm all for feeding the fake trolls.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 09:42 | 892871 swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

If a troll trolls a troll, is it trolling?

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 15:00 | 894047 Hulk
Hulk's picture

Job well done to the various Wanker imitation trolls!

Sat, 01/22/2011 - 05:30 | 895440 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

I wish I knew who those guys were but it's not important.  They are really good.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:14 | 892378 kujo
kujo's picture

Just another fleecing of the retail investor. Feels more and more like a manufactured crisis.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:24 | 892400 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Kujo, who owns state issued bonds?

Far and wide, for the overwhelming part, it's NOT "retail investors." It's pension funds that cater to unions and such and large institutional funds that may expose relatively small portions of some retail investors' portfolios to state bond holdings.

But, wouldn't it be prudent for bond investors to, no matter who they are and no matter what they are buying, return to a modicum of due diligence such as doing a bare minimum of research to discover some accurate information about the indebted party's state of financial health before buying their paper debt? They could also hedge their bond exposure with portfolio insurance of some type.

Maybe part of the reason we're in the mess that we are is because no one wants to do any real due diligence anymore, and that they just expect to be bailed out.

Ben Bernanke, despite what he says, reaffirms this negative behavior by way of his actions, making parties that made completely half-assed decisions and investments whole, no?

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:07 | 892493 Freddie
Freddie's picture

It is called "moral hazard."  You bail out one bank then it never stops.  Thre is no risk because everyone gets bailed out.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 05:43 | 892688 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

The twisted irony here is that the states need to cut costs so they can pay their bills.
One of the big bills is those damnable bond payments.
And who are the big holders of those bonds? It wouldn't be the little old pension plans now would it?
So if they don't make the bond payments, the pension funds don't get their money back.
And if they DO make their bond payments and go broke in the process, the pensioners have to recover dimes on the dollar from bankruptcy court?
Damn, I do believe it was a bad idea for these apes to come down out of the trees.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:01 | 892910 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

Absolute Return Fund(s) BITCHEZ!!!!!

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:33 | 892424 whatz that smell
whatz that smell's picture

harrywanger = robottrader = hamywanger. get it?

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:53 | 892461 Dixie Normous
Dixie Normous's picture

Awesome, I thought the flag was off a little.

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:52 | 892322 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Iceland defaulted, and I do believe it's working out quite well for the ACTUAL PEOPLE.




(and especially the Central Banks)

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:05 | 892354 illyia
illyia's picture

+ 401K

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 02:17 | 892575 palmereldritch
palmereldritch's picture

That's it. 

The AGs and the State Assemblies have to stand up and push the dominoes back towards the Fed.

Hell, sign a memorandum of solidarity with Iceland on the issue of illegitimate debt.  A state's right, like any right, is only as good as the fulfilment of the obligation to protect it and use it.

Debt repudiation followed by State controlled central banking fashioned on the North Dakota model.  Toxic debt is like a magic trick, it's only material if you accept the illusion.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 03:40 | 892636 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Another one who "gets" it. 

Iceland = liberty

Amerika = despotism

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 03:52 | 892645 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.
Ernest Hemingway

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 09:40 | 892868 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

Ernest.. God Bless his Soul...

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 08:55 | 892815 Bob
Bob's picture


Fri, 01/21/2011 - 09:51 | 892888 jackplata
jackplata's picture

Their population is less than 500,000

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:53 | 892323 dick cheneys ghost
dick cheneys ghost's picture

meredith rocks

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:54 | 892325 ejmoosa
ejmoosa's picture

So the poorly run states get to catch a break while the well managed states do not.  Just more redistribution of wealth in this country.

No wonder more and more people are just willing to throw in the towel. Had we known this we could have all spent like California and Illinois.




Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:07 | 892349 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

A serious question to you: Why not?

Why shouldn't taxpayers in states that are in trouble be afforded default relief, given that many of these same taxpayers in these states have rendered unto Caesar far more than a pound of flesh as tribute to the Bernank, the TBTF monstrosities, TARP, TALF, Stimulus and QE/POMO?

You are basically stating or at least implying that taxpayers should be and always must be the doorstop in this whole convoluted FUBAR Cluster, right?

The problem with that is the taxpayers are tapped out. Take a look around. Let's have the TBTFs and the Morgans and Squids take some real, deep hits for a change.

Fuck Wall Street, banks, bond holders & The Federal Reserve. Let's remember that these fuckers controlled a mere 14% of U.S. GDP in the 60s, and that number has swelled to 40% now...and look where that's gotten us -

- I would take this to the next level, though, and inscribe in U.S. law that TARP and QE are illegal, as is monetizing U.S. deficit spending by a Central Bank, and I'd of course push the case that American owe interest to no private cartels/banks at any time, period.

America's middle class, economy and strength peaked in 1968, when manufacturing represented 40%+ of GDP, and the Squid and its ilk just 14% or so.

Last time I THOUGHT I knew reality, bonds and other debt instruments did carry risk of default.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:13 | 892374 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

When the pie gets smaller, or when the pie gets bigger, it is human nature to go for a bigger slice.  This is forever.

Government budgets have no more money.  No one is going to relinquish their slice.  They will fight tooth and nail and they have been preparing legal arrangements for decades to ensure they get their slice and tax increases fund that slice.

That will always be the rebuttal.  "Why do you need to declare bankruptcy when you have the right to raise taxes?"  That's a very hard argument to rebut legally.  If you have the ability to raise revenue at will, why do you need to declare bankruptcy?

I do not see this happening.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:35 | 892425 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

So, in other words, they'll just raise taxes to the level that taxpayers have no additional/remaining income for consumption of non-government compelled things?

That won't work out so well for the businesses in the community, or the macroeconomy.

That's just another form of banana republicanism, where people pay all their income to the state, whether local, state or federal.

If I was an auto dealer or restaurant owner, and saw that my sales dropped off 90% because of tax hikes, I think I'd just close my doors and call it a day, no?

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:06 | 892492 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

Oh, they can tax themselves to oblivion and the courts may require it to pay the pensions.

OTOH, remember that the baby boom bulge will pass.  Or, the lack of police may make them, the pensioners, crime/murder targets and presto: problem solved.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 12:23 | 893426 Jerome Lester H...
Jerome Lester Horwitz's picture

TIS....We will see how this plays out in Illinois but my bet is that many business owners will experience the condition of your last paragraph!

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:21 | 892521 I think I need ...
I think I need to buy a gun's picture

one local town has to raise taxes for school taxes to 33000 dollars a year to cover teachers pensions. So thats the answer. Raise taxes? No one will be staying in that town.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 11:53 | 893331 ejmoosa
ejmoosa's picture

Why not?

Because those taxpayers in those states were the ones that allowed the spending by voting for those that would spend on anything and everything AND they were the ones that benefitted from that spending.

It's called responsibility.

Second, the bondholders that financed that spending should get creamed.  They should have been asking the hard questions before loaning the money.


Rest assured, the FEDS will try to step in based on who the holders of the bonds are.  If they are union or teacher orginazations, they will get their money back.  Others will get the shaft.  Just more selective redistribution of wealth.

If the taxpayers of California are also the beneficiaries, why exactly should they not be the doorstop?

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:19 | 892392 Lucius Corneliu...
Lucius Cornelius Sulla's picture

So the poorly run states get to catch a break while the well managed states do not.  

The second the FED or the USG starts to bail one out, they will all go on a debt issuing rampage.  It won't happen.

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:58 | 892338 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

Finally, some austerity measures being taken.

The firefighters and police here in Los Angeles are paid about $250,000/year with overtime.  Additionally, they run their contracting businesses from the fire station while they are sitting around.

Those guys are about to get the shaft.

Last time there was an opening for a few firemen positions, so many people applied, they had to rent the Rose Bowl to process all the applicants.

And all of them have outrageous pension benefits, health care for life, etc.

About time that gravy train ended.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:07 | 892357 Misean
Misean's picture

Damned shame. LAPD is one fine group of thugs...

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:09 | 892365 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

And to think that back in the day they rode one to a cruiser.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:27 | 892412 Misean
Misean's picture

That was to dispell the keystone cops that I think of it, what a perfect model going forward.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:44 | 892438 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Back in the day the LA PD thugs just beat up Okies looking for work and mobsters from the East Coast who were not invited by the local mobsters plus they screwed starlet wannabe hookers.  I hate Hollywood's crap but LA Confidential was pretty good.    Russell Crowe played one of those thugs.

They got shitty little pensions and became drunken night watchmen or PIs. Now they buy a yacht or a vineyard in Nor Cal.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:12 | 892498 goldmiddelfinger
goldmiddelfinger's picture

I was only half way through your first sentence before thinking "this guy reads too much James Ellroy" !!!

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:59 | 892476 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Bus drivers in Torrance, making $ drive a bus...while on crack...sometimes into other objects.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 01:02 | 892482 Alienated Serf
Alienated Serf's picture

do you have a link to the application?  sounds like good times.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 09:26 | 892849 firstdivision
firstdivision's picture

What is the cost of living in Torrance as opposed to other cities in the US?  $70k in NYC is like making $35k in the Midwest.

Thu, 01/20/2011 - 23:59 | 892342 Richard Whitney
Richard Whitney's picture

The frigtening thing about Meredith Whitney's call, that many municipalities would go bankrupt, is the amount of instant vituperative hate it generated. It was 2007-8 redux. Meredith makes a scary call - even if you generally agreed with her premise in 2007 you thought it wouldn't be as bad as she predicts - then empty suits do some hating on her, then events unfold just as she predicted and you can't breath anymore. We are at the post-hate, pre-events-unfolding part. Take a deep breath, here we go.

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:29 | 892408 Freddie
Freddie's picture

"The frigtening thing about Meredith Whitney's call, that many municipalities would go bankrupt, is the amount of instant vituperative hate it generated."

Like when a Bush-hating pot smoking kook killed 6 people in AZ and they immediately blamed Palin while O held a funeral rally with bused in thugs wearing t-shirts? This kind of instant hate?

The rest of the states should not bail out IL, CA, NY or MI. 

CA has enough offshore oil and gas to pay down their debts.  IL has more coal for coal diesel than Saudi Arabia has oil.   


Fri, 01/21/2011 - 11:20 | 893184 Calmyourself
Calmyourself's picture

Careful Fred those middle two lines are "truth" lots of people don't like having their nose rubbed in "truth"...  Remember after a mass shooting it is the Presidents job to come up with a slogan, "Together we thrive"..  I don't know about you, but that murderous rage I felt has just disappeared..

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:00 | 892345 prophet
prophet's picture

No sense in going through the arduous work of changing the rules when we can just make them up as we go. 

Time to load up on MUNItions?

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!